McDonough ILGenWeb ILGenWeb


Oct 1, 1940
Dear Readers:
History continues to be made and these family notes are, in a sense, only the beginning. Should anyone have anything to add to this, please write to me.
Cordially yours,
Cyril N. Shannon
Buckner Creek Stock Farm
Mulino, Oregon

February 2, 1994
Dear Readers:
In transcribing the tattered copy of this history I have only changed a few typographical errors. The facts have not all been checked, but I have not found Mr. Shannon in error on many points. Whenever I have changed or added to the original text it is clearly indicated.
Dorothy Willis


Some years back I became curious as to the extent, past and present, of the family of which I am a member. In trying to satisfy that curiosity I have uncovered much that I think others may be interested in. As a consequence (I) have gathered the essential facts together in these several pages so that others may share my findings. The limits of this work are well realized but its publication may bring forth additional Shannon history from hitherto unsuspected sources.

This is offered in the hope that knowing something of one's ancestry will bring inspiration to those members of the family who read it. The work has been a pleasure to me and contacting so many of my kin has been very gratifying. A great debt is acknowledged to many members of the family for their splendid cooperation in the gathering together of material. Also the help of the librarians in the Genealogical Department of the Los Angeles Public Library.

It has been said that all relatives are divided automatically into two classes; those you are ashamed of and those who are ashamed of you. That aspect of the matter has been ignored in this case.

Should anyone desire to discuss the Shannon family further be assured that correspondence is more than welcome.
Cyril Norton Shannon [deceased]

The first documented record mentioned in this history is in 1782. The
family lived at various times in Greenbrier County, Virginia (now Monroe
County, West Virginia), Knox County, Tennessee, and Franklin, Galatin,
Washington and McDonough Counties, Illinois.



. . . . The earliest record we have of this branch of the Shannon family is for the year 1782. At that time they were listed by the tax assessors in Greenbrier County, VA. Nothing is known as to when they might have come to America except that great hordes of Irish came to this country from 1727 to 1729. Many have come since, most of them to obtain political, religious, and economic freedom. They came principally to Philadelphia because of its reputation for liberality. . . .

William and Katherine Shannon who recorded a deed for 395 acres of land on Turkey Creek in Greenbrier County in 1787 were possibly first, and not more than second generation Irish. It is likely that they came to Greenbrier County soon after its formation in 1777. As soon as land was opened for settlement people would go in and pick out a likely looking piece and then hold it by what was known as "tomahawk rights' until the land office opened and their land claim could be recorded. Most of these land seekers obtained their land through the use of treasury warrants received as a result of military service. Some believe William Shannon had a warrant as the result of military service in the Revolutionary War. The land patents granted in West Va were signed by the Loyal and Greenbrier Land companies. After the surveyor verified the claim the deed was recorded. Most of the people in Greenbrier County were Irish and Scotch Irish who had come down from Pennsylvania. . . .

The William Shannon farm lay between Turkey Creek and Dropping Lick Creek about five miles south of the present town of Union in what is now Monroe County, West Virginia. At that time it was part of the State of Virginia inasmuch as West Virginia became a separate state in 1863. William and Katherine were on this place at the time of the original United States Census of 1783. Charles the second eldest and ancestor of our line was no doubt born on this place since he was born about 1781.

In 1794 they sold 195 acres of their land to Sarah Henderson. Then the following year they sold the remaining 200 acres to Walter Neal at which time they apparently moved to Tennessee. They place they moved to in Tennessee was a farm on the Clinch River eighteen miles from Knoxville. This is within a very few miles of the Norris Dam, which is part of the TVA. This place was near a mill belonging to Scarboroughs also a Baptist church of the same name.

Charles was about fifteen years old at this time. He was the second of nine children all of whom had been born in Virginia. Their names were, Henry, Charles, William, John, James, Andrew, Mary, Susan, Jane and Margaret.

Tennessee was still a territory and Knoxville the future capitol was just a collection of log cabins. There was a newspaper and there was much style for such a primitive place. When the Shannons came the Indians had all been driven to the western part of the state. Up until 1794 the Indian depredations had been terrible. They were in time to see the formation of the State of Tennessee in the year 1796.

Charles married Prudence Scarborough, whose family ran Scarborough's mill. She was the daughter of James and Amelia Scarborough. Prudence died leaving three children, Katherine, Amelia and William. This William is important since he is the one who carries the name of Shannon on Down. Charles' second wife was a cousin of his first wife, Agnes Duncan. To them were born eight children whose names were, Elizabeth, Agnes, Craven, Pleasant, Delilah, Elavine, Juliet, and Naomi.

Charles fought in the War of 1812 under Captain John Lewis, 5th Regiment (Booth's) East Tennessee Militia. He enlisted Nov 13, 1814. His service ended June 5, 1815. In obtaining enlistments at that time the officer would put a bunch of silver dollars on a drum head and when a man stepped up and took one he signified his willingness to enlist. Charles fought at Natchez and the story is told of their firing across the Mississippi at the British. The musket he carried is now in the possession of the writer.
The burial place of Charles' mother and father is not known but is no doubt in Tennessee. The Shannon names of Henry, John, James, Mary and Jane which correspond to the names of Charles' brothers and sisters are to be found on tombstones in Lebanon Tennessee.

As in Virginia, the stories came back from the frontier of the abundance of fertile lands and the pioneering blood in Charles responded. It is likely that the farm on the Clinch River was not as good as it once was and he wanted more opportunity for his large family.

Charles was nearly forty when in the fall of 1819 he, with his entire family including the sons-in-law and their families all moved to Illinois. Their first stop was a farm in Franklin County owned by Robert McCreary. They stayed here for two years but it wasn't very satisfactory for the sons-in-law became dissatisfied and moved back to Tennessee. Charles and his family decided to stay in Illinois, buying a farm in Galatin County. They lived on this place for eight years selling out in 1829 to Joseph Ware of Tennessee. They stayed on the place till the following April. Leaving on the 15th of April 1830 for what was then known as the Military Tract in the mid-western part of the state.

They were held up by floods and by a visit to one of Charles' daughters, arriving in McDonough County May 9, 1830. They stopped at William Carters farm one and one-half miles south of the present site of the town of Industry. The Carters were one of the first three families to settle in that part of the county. Charles and the boys spent a week looking around and came to the conclusion that the prospects were very poor. It was a very uncivilized country with very few people and no place to stay and no place to buy provisions or supplies of any kind. They were all set to go back to Galatin County but the neighbors prevailed on them to stay so they settled on a place where the town of Industry now stands. In 1831 there was an Indian uprising and Charles enlisted as a private in Captain Edmonsten's Company, Mounted Ranger, Illinois Volunteers. This was known as the Sac and Fox war and didn't amount to much as he was mustered out with the company and honorably discharged July 4, 1851. Charles stayed on the same place for eight years and made many improvements but a Mr. Seely showed up and established ownership of the place. Land titles were somewhat obscure in those days because of the absence of County government and records. Mr. Seely paid Charles for his improvements and Charles moved to Pennington's Point. Pennington's Point was the third town to be established in the County. He stayed there for a year moving then to Washington County Illinois. Nothing but bad luck and sickness there so they moved back to Pennington's Point. Here they stayed for eight years until the death of his wife Agnes Duncan Shannon, on November 17, 1848. She was buried in the Pennington Point cemetery and Charles moved to Industry where he lived with his daughter until his death four years later on June 8, 1852.

William Shannon, son of Charles and Prudence Shannon was born in Knox County Sept 12,, 1804. He apparently moved with his father and family to Illinois in 1819 and so on as told above until in 1832 when they were living on the Seely place he met and married Mary Miller. They were married by James Vance who was a prominent figure in the County and became the Commissioner of School Lands in 1835. Mary was a native of Tennessee and was one of nine children born to John and Sydney (Thompson) Miller. The Millers are originally from Pennsylvania. William and Mary were married on Jan 12, 1832 and after renting a farm west of Industry for a few years and likely living with his father's family before that, bought a place two miles east of Industry in 1843.
About this time the sentiment against the Mormons began to grow, and William, whom everyone called Uncle Billy, had no more than got settled on his new place when the hostilities became violent. The Mormons who had originated in New York State under the leadership of Joseph Smith had taken up residence in Missouri. But the Missourians would have none of them and so they took refuge in Illinois. They were a clannish people and had built a town entirely their own which they called Nauvoo. Resentment became greater as time went on and though the Mormons were no doubt blamed for many crimes they didn't commit, there were many black marks against them. One of their favorite weapons was to bury a keg of gunpowder in the middle of the road and blow it up when an enemy was passing over. Their name for this was "Hell's Half Acre." But when Joseph Smith blossomed out with his idea for plural marriage the people were incensed to the point of action. A volunteer army was formed to march on the Mormons and Uncle Billy was a private in this army. Just what part he played in the lynching of Joseph is not known but it was a high spot in the year 1844 for him.

Uncle Billy and Aunt Polly, as Mary was known, had nine children which they raised to maturity. Their names were, in the order of their age: Rachel Ann, Agnes Elizabeth, Charles Rufus, John Fletcher, James Pleasant, William Henry, Harvel Miller, George Gordon, Penelope Francis. Short biographies of each will follow.

Uncle Billy always wore a large beard and had the appearance of being an old man even in his early forties. This was probably a result of asthma, from which he suffered most of the time. As he became older the asthma improved until he was practically free of it. But when he was about sixty years old he went out and fought a prairie fire and the exertion caused a return of asthma which turned into dropsy and resulted in his death. He died at his farm two miles east of Industry, Jan 22, 1866.

Uncle Billy was originally buried in the Vance Cemetery but in 1907 his oldest son Charles had him moved to the Industry Cemetery. His last act was to nourish a fir tree which was cut down to make the Christmas tree at the Christian Church in Industry one year.

Aunt Polly was also born in Knox County, Tennessee was a commanding person both as to looks and disposition. She had black hair and dark eyes, was tall and well built. She wasn't much of a talker and was very stern with the children and grand-children.

Although she was known to everyone as Aunt Polly the younger children always called her "Old Bombe." After Uncle Billy died she stayed on the home place with her son Charles who had bought out all his brothers and sisters. She died May 10, 1891 and was buried in the Vance Cemetery. Her body was moved to the Industry Cemetery with Uncle
Billy's in 1907 when it was laid out.

BIOGRAPHIES of Children of Mary and William Shannon

Rachelann E. Shannon Downer

Was born on the Seely place where the town of Industry now stands Feb 15, 1833. Lived with her parents until June 12, 1853, when she was married to David Downer. She was never very strong and had not been married long when one of the younger girls was bitten by a dog. Rachelann was greatly frightened and ran a long way to get a doctor. She then ran all the way back and when the doctor arrived he found that the girl who had been bitten was all right but the excitement and exertion had been too much for Rachelann. She never fully recovered and a year or so later died. Her death Sept 9, 1855. She was buried in Vail Cemetery, Industry Ill. No children.

Agnes Elizabeth Shannon Pennington

Was born Sept 25, 1834 on the Seely place the future townsite of the town of Industry. Lived with her parents till the time of her marriage. As a young woman she was stabbed by a disappointed suitor by the name of Fred Hobart. He jumped on his horse and left post haste. One of the family started out after him but was outdistanced. Fred was never heard of for many years. Elizabeth, as she was usually called, later married David Pennington. He was not related to the Penningtons of Pennington Point. They farmed northwest of the town of Industry for many years.

They finally retired and moved to Industry. David died May 1901 and Agnes Elizabeth on October 1916. They were buried in the Industry Cemetery.

Agnes Elizabeth was a very nervous person and disliked being out in public. She never liked to get very far from home as she had a fear of becoming lost. She was nearly bald most of her life.

The children were, Roann, Herbert, Rachel, Caldona E., Carolyn, Gertrude G., and Mary E.

Charles Rufus Shannon

Was born on a farm west of the town of Industry, Jan 13, 1838. When he was five years old his father bought a farm two miles east of Industry. This place was to be his home for fifty-six years. He never received more than grammar school education and being the eldest son was looked to to keep the farm going during his father's illness. When the Civil War broke out he wanted to go to war but his younger brothers John and James, who had been away to Iowa, returned and insisted on going. They said that Charles' place was on the farm. This he did and he became active in politics. He was on
the board of the Dixie School District in 1864. He was a leader in the Democratic party and was on the board of supervisors in 1874. It was about this time that he met and married Alice Ann Norton. She was a school teacher and her parents were from New York state. They were of English descent. Chas and Alice lived on the home place until 1901, at which time they sold out everything and moved to a farm five miles southwest of McCune, Kansas. All the children came with them except the eldest son, Bruce, who had married and lived in LaBelle, Mo. Charles was never very prosperous at this place, but managed to make a living. Charles died Jan 1, 1913, about two months after the death of his wife Alice. Both are buried in the McCune Cemetery.

Charles was a tall man, light colored eyes and bald headed. Had a wonderful disposition and was loved by all. He helped his brother George through medical school.

The children were, Effie Lenore, Bruce F., Veryl B.,Ralph L., Mary E., Charles Roscoe, Nellie A., and William Lloyd.

John Fletcher Shannon

Was born on the farm west of Industry Illinois Feb 25, 1840. Lived with his parents until as a young man he went to live with his brother James. When the Civil War began they both rushed home and joined the Illinois Volunteers. John enlisted August 14, 1862 in the 78th Infantry. Went into active service Sept 1, 1862 when he was ordered to Louisville, Kentucky. He was in many battles of the war, including Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Kenesaw Mountain, and others. Was with Sherman at Atlanta and the March to the Sea. He was mustered out June 16, 1865 as a first sergeant. He returned to Industry, where he married Nancy Sullivan who was a native of Indiana, June, 1866. The town of Industry had been laid out in 1855 but had no city government until 1867. John was a member of the first Board of Trustees at the time it was organized May 16, 1867.

In 1880 they moved to Butler Co., Kansas and tried farming but not successfully, so they returned to Jacksonville, Missouri where he spent the rest of his life. He was married after the death of his first wife to Crissie Gaines but all his children were by his first wife.

John was a tall man, quite thin and somewhat bald. He was an easy going person though not very talkative. He could be induced to tell of his war experiences only at rare intervals. He said that the worst hardship of the war was hunger. He would be so hungry that in thinking of home his hunger would be so great he could never think of getting closer to the house than the garbage bucket.

The children were, Anna, Louis Tecumseh, Albert Oscar, Hugh Gordon, Elsie, M. Ladwin, and Daisy Dean.

James Pleasant Shannon

Was born on a farm west of the townsite of Industry March 4, 1842. This was just before his father bought the farm east of town. He was a very young man when he went with his brother John to Iowa. They both enlisted together in the 78th Illinois Volunteers at McComb on August 14, 1862. Sept. 1 his company was ordered to Louisville, Kentucky and he fought all through the war. Took part in the battles of Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Kenesaw Mountain, the Fall of Atlanta and the March to the Sea. They also marched with Sherman from Georgia to Washington.

He was a great talker and liked to tell of his war experiences. He told of being terribly hungry one time when they were on the march. They came upon some corn that a horse had spilled from his feed bag and promptly gathered it up. Another man found a second-hand soup bone. They put the bone and corn into a pot of water and put it on a fire. Their hunger was so great that before it ever got good and warm it smelled so good they gobbled it down right then and there. The hardtack which was rationed out to them was usually inhabited and the only way they could stand to eat it was in the dark. When Atlanta was burned he managed to get possession of a couple of hams. He was nearly burned himself in getting them out of town. He managed to be transferred to the commissary where he fared a little better. He was able to get hold of a couple of handfuls of flour and sugar each day and these he used to make pancakes. He was wounded by a minneball which went through the blanket carried in a roll around his shoulder and entered his back.

After he was mustered out of the Army June 7, 1865 he lived at home for a while. Then Feb 21, 1867 he married Margaret V. Wilson and they moved to Waukee, Iowa the following month. He spent the balance of his life as a farmer in Iowa. His wife Margaret died Jan 30, 1883, and he died Jan 6, 1908. Both are buried in the Waukee Cemetery. He was married a second time.

The children, all by the first wife were, Alfred E., Edward L., and James S.

William Henry Shannon

Was born May 1, 1844 on the home place two miles east of the town of Industry. He lived with his parents until after the death of his father. He was about 25 years of age when he went to visit his brother James who was married and living in Dallas County, Iowa. He stayed with him about two years and then decided to visit his brother John who at that time was living in Butler County, Kansas. It was here that he met and married Ida Virginia Comstock, who had come from Hancock County, Illinois with her parents. The Comstock family had come to Kansas to take up government land.

After the first two children were born they left Butler County and took up some government land that had just been opened for settlement. They sold all their household effects and left Butler County in 1879 in the company of two friends, Newt Bradfield and Samuel Geoff. Henry had been to Harper County of a buffalo hunt some time previous and had liked it. He staked out his claim and in time received his land grant signed by President Chester A. Arthur. This deed is still in the possession of the family. Pioneering those days was hard. They had to haul firewood forty miles or burn buffalo chips. When they needed a little cash they would go out on the prairie and gather buffalo bones.
Henry Shannon was a good father and raised a large family. He accumulated more land, owning 400 acres at the time of his death. He held many township offices and served as county Commissioner for Harper County for three years. He died Sept 15, 1924 and was buried in the Attica Cemetery. His wife Ida is still living. (1940)

He was bald and the smallest of the boys but could not be dominated.

The children were C. Roy, Maud, Ruby, Valda L., Earl.

Harvel Miller Shannon

Was born on the home place two miles east of Industry March 6, 1848. Received a high school education and studied law. Was admitted to the bar in 1880. He married Sarah Brown in 1869. He taught school for several years, teaching in the winter and farming in the summer. He and his wife lived in or near Industry until 1885 when he accepted a position in the War Department in Washington, D.C. This he held for thirty years, advancing to the position of head clerk. After his wife died on Oct 19, 1917, he moved to Industry where he lived with his niece Roann Hoffman until 1921. In 1921 he suffered aa stroke of paralysis which resulted in his death. His wife's remains which were originally buried in Washington had previously been brought to Industry for reburial. Both are now in the Industry Cemetery.

Harv' was tall and thin, also bald. He was inclined to be methodical. He would smoke two pipefuls of tobacco after each meal and then no more. He was always a little resentful towards prohibition, liked to take a drink occasionally. He was well read and had the reputation for being a walking dictionary. He played the violin.

No children.

George Gordon Shannon

Was born on the home place two miles east of Industry Oct 26, 1850. Lived at home until he finished high school and then he attended Ann Arbor Medical School at Ann Arbor Michigan. He received his degree about 1873. Returned to Industry and set up a practice. He was married in 1875 to Florence Ellen Beaver. In 1886 he and his family moved to Tulare Calif. He didn't practice medicine at first but went to work in the grain harvest. When it became known that he was a doctor people insisted that he hang out his shingle and he soon had all the patients he could take care of. His first wife died in 1892 and in 1893 he married Josephine Wooten. He was a railroad doctor for a time and continued his practice right up to his death August 5, 1900. He was buried in the Tulare Cemetery as was his first wife who died Feb 10, 1892.

All George's brothers were bald but none so much as he. He was inclined towards stoutness and had a very jolly disposition.

The children were Maud Aline and Frank Lester.

Penelope Francis Shannon Dale.

Was born on the home place two miles east of Industry Feb 25, 1854. Was only twelve years old when her father died. On Feb 18, 1875 she married William Dale. They farmed in McDonough County for ten years but in 1885 decided to try Kansas. They moved to Udall County but after two years moved on to Comanche County. Their place was three and one-half miles northeast of Protection Kansas. And it was in the spring of 1887. Farming operations were extremely unsuccessful so they turned to cattle and prospered.

Nellie was of a very cheerful disposition and was a fine lady. She was friendly a ready talker and was liked by everybody. She was a strong well built person.

The children were Jessie, Georgia M., Ford J., Ernest S., Beatrice, Chester W., Mark S., Helen E.

Transcribed, edited and added to by
Dorothy Shannon Willis
6151 Turnberry Court
Redding, California 96003-8005

Contributed by Dorothy E. Willis

McDonough County ILGenWeb Copyright